An updated guide based on our most recent trip – which includes the best breakfast taco in Austin!
I originally wrote this post back when we went on our Texas road trip in 2017 – but since we visited my brother and sister-in-law last weekend, we realized we missed a TON the first time! Plus, it’s always more fun to have locals show you around!
Austin is an incredibly vibrant and fun city. We love that it’s not overwhelmingly huge, but there is still a lot to explore. And the FOOD! If you think Texas only does BBQ, you’re wrong. Austin excels at pretty much every type of food, from fresh and healthy to indulgent, and everything in between. I’m pretty sure the highlight of my trip was when they took us out to get the best breakfast taco in Austin ? Yes, it WAS that good!
Where to Eat
Veracruz All Natural
If I’ve already built it up, we might as well talk about it, right?! I know I don’t live there, and I know there are probably other great options – but I can’t imagine anything beating this. Ifyou’re looking for the best breakfast taco in Austin, get the Migas taco at Veracruz. It has eggs, tortilla chips, monterey jack cheese, cilantro, tomato, onion, and avocado. Top it with one (or two) of their homemade salsas and this is a perfect taco. I already miss it and need another one. HEAVEN.
*Also need to make an honorable mention to Granny’s! Their ranchero taco didn’t beat Veracruz’s migas taco – but it was still amazing.
**We also went into Las Perlas bar to seek out Asador’s tacos after a few martinis and they did not disappoint. I got the mushroom taco and it was spicy but AMAZING.
Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon
My sister in law hit a home run when she picked this lunch spot for us on Friday. First of all, the patio is dreamy. The sun peeks in between the branches of these big beautiful trees, and there are colorful accents all over. But this isn’t her favorite lunch spot just because of the ambiance. The menu has a lot of different options, and I was sold as soon as she told me about their Power Bol. This bowl has chicken, power greens, sweet potatoes, avocado, adobo chickpeas, roasted cauliflower, pickled red onions, and a sherry shallot vinaigrette. So healthy and seriously delicious. I was so happy!
Emmer & Rye
If you’re looking for a fancy dinner out, Emmer & Rye was lovely. It’s definitely not cheap, especially considering the portion sizes, but if you’re celebrating a special occasion with people who love to share, it’s a great option. I particularly loved the oysters, red snapper (pictured below!), and strawberry sorbet with salted cream for dessert. Also, this is where my brother and I discovered that we really love a well made dirty martini ?
I know we have some good smoothie spots in Chicago, but I now wish there was a JuiceLand near me too. I had the Mr. Peabody smoothie after our night of martinis and it hit the spot. It had orange, banana, kale, spinach, pea protein, spirulina, and sea salt – and even Adam (who usually dislikes anything with kale) liked it! Ali got one of their smoothies in a bowl (pictured below) which looked amazing, so I copied her and got my own bowl at the airport before we left Austin. One last hoorah!
I didn’t take any photos at Via 313, but they have some damn good Detroit style pizza. We went there right after we landed, sat on the patio, and indulged in pizza. What says “vacation” more than that?! Also, if you’re lactose intolerant like my sister-in-law, they have an amazing dairy free cheese option. It was so melty and cheesy!
Adam loves donuts, so once I realized that Voodoo was in Austin, I knew we had to make a stop. They are famous for their cereal doughnuts, so we obviously had to try the Captain Crunch and Fruit Loop flavors! My personal favorite was the coconut, though. Sooo yum!
I know I’ve already raved about Picnik in this blog post and this instagram – but the love is REAL, guys! For those of you who don’t know anything about it, my friend from Syracuse (Naomi!) is the founder of this special restaurant. I had heard about it through social media, but actually being able to eat there was such a treat. Her goal was to create good food that’s also good for you… and they do just that! I tried their famous butter coffee and we both got breakfast tacos (with Siete Foods tortillas!) and I was a very happy girl. Now we just have to convince them to open a Chicago location 😉
Where to Get a Drink
This is my brother’s favorite bar and I completely understand why. Not only is there a patio, but the inside is the coolest. They also have a mezcal room above this one where they only serve mezcal, sometimes with a guitar player putting on a private show. I got the “Lady Is A Vamp” cocktail, which is vodka, cinnamon, grapefruit, lime, and soda. CRAZY delicious.
Everyone told me that Rainey Street was super fun, but no one mentioned that ALL of the bars are HOUSES! It seriously cracked me up! You would literally go in the front door or around to the backyard to get into most of these bars. It’s so unique, but it also immediately makes you feel like you’re at a neighborhood house party. Into it.
Jester King Brewery
If you have the time, I highly recommend checking out the Jester King Brewery. It’s about a 30 minute drive outside of the city in the Texas Hill Country, which is beautiful. On their ranch, there’s a big beer hall with a brewery, kitchen, and live music. It’s a really great atmosphere for a relaxed afternoon!
Clark’s Oyster Bar
Clark’s was a recommendation from my friend Graham when we visited Austin the first time. I’m keeping this in the drinks category instead of food, only because this is what my day drinking dreams are made of. A glass of rose, a few oysters and french fries, perfect weather… give me all of those things and I’m a happy girl!
Brew & Brew and Revival Coffee
We only had coffee at Brew & Brew, but I love that they serve coffee in the morning and beer in the evening! Such a fun concept!! I also had an awesome Oat Milk Latte at Revival… they don’t serve alcohol at night like the other one, but I still thought it was worth mentioning 😉
What to Do/Explore
Scoot around the city!
One of my favorite aspects of traveling is simply exploring different cities. Usually we walk everywhere, but it was SO fun to ride the scooters around in Austin! It took a second to get used to it, but we were hooked once we did! It was such a fun way to get around and see a lot!
Walk along Lady Bird Lake
When you don’t want to scoot anymore, drop them off and go for a walk along the water. It’s so pretty and I love that it’s called Lady Bird Lake! Sounds a lot like Lake Shore Lady, right?!
Find the murals
Guys. There are SO MANY MURALS IN THIS CITY. If you’re a sucker for some good wall art, keep these addresses in your phone as you’re exploring!
Be Here Now Mural: 1108 E 6th St
Greetings From Austin Mural: 1720 S 1st St
Love you, Austin Mural: 1701 S Congress Ave
Check out the local shops
There are so many great local shops around Austin, but we especially loved two! The first was Maufrais, a really cool hat shop on South Congress with a full custom hat bar. In other words, you can pick out a hat and they’ll shape it for you right there in the store. So cool, right?!
I also swung into Little Limbo, which is a sweet and colorful gift shop I stumbled upon because the outside is bright pink ? I got us a cute little succulent magnet as a souvenir – but I was very close to buying their whole kids section for my niece and nephews.
Hope Outdoor Gallery
*Update: this is closed right now, but will be reopening in a new location this year. Read more here!
If you are in Austin, you must stop by the Hope Outdoor Gallery. Really, no excuses. I’ve never seen anything like it, which makes sense because I found out this is the only “paint park” of it’s kind in the USA. It was created so that muralists, street artists, and arts education classes could have a place to go to share their artwork and positive messages with the community. It is a really cool spot and I highly recommend taking some time to explore it.
Mount Bonnell was not my radar at ALL, but we met up with one of my other college friends who lives in Austin and he said we should definitely add it to our list. I’m so glad we listened to him because after a short drive, we were climbing a staircase up to a view of the entire city of Austin. Beautiful!
If you have some extra time, I definitely recommend driving about 30 minutes outside of Austin to a small town named Georgetown. You can stay overnight (read about our gorgeous hotel in this post) or swing by for dinner… but either way, it’s a charming blast from the past.
What would you add to this Austin Travel Guide?
I know we didn’t get to everything, so I’d love to know what you would put on your list! What should I check out if/when we go back? I’d love to know!
Ps. You might also like to read about our full Texas Road Trip, and visits to Dallas/Fort Worth and San Antonio!